News / Africa

Zimbabwe Party Leaders, Security Chiefs Sued by Former Detainees

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, 17 Aug 2010 (file photo)
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, 17 Aug 2010 (file photo)
Peta Thornycroft

Human-rights activist Jestina Mukoko and 17 others are suing some of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's closest colleagues for $22 million, claiming they were kidnapped, tortured and illegally detained in 2008.  

Zimbabwe human-rights activist Jestina Mukoko says she was abducted in her night clothes at dawn by a dozen security agents, shoved into an unmarked vehicle, and driven to a secret location.

At that time a group of 18 people - including a two-year-old boy picked up with his parents, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters, and some with no political connections - disappeared.  They all claim in papers before the High Court they were held in secret locations and physically and mentally abused.

Mukoko was abducted just 10 weeks after former opposition leader, now prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai signed a political agreement that led to the unity government in February last year.

After an international outcry, Mukoko and other detainees were released to a hospital and she was charged with recruiting insurgents to overthrow Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled her arrest was illegal and ruled similarly for all the others now suing leaders and security chiefs of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF Party.  The group of abductees is asking for $22 million in damages, charging the party officials are responsible for kidnapping and torture.

ZANU-PF Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, former Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, security chief Happyton Bonyongwe, senior prison officers, policemen and security agents are among those facing trial on September 13.

The suit is being seen by political analysts and lawyers in Harare as a significant legal and political moment in Zimbabwe's 30 years of independence.

At the time of her abduction, Mukoko was documenting ZANU-PF violence against Mr. Tsvangirai's supporters before the June 2008 presidential run-off.  A week before that poll Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew his candidacy after about 200 of his supporters were killed and hundreds injured by ZANU- PF militia.

The lawsuit will be heard by Judge George Chiweshe, who was chairman of the election authority that in 2008 delayed the presidential poll results for five weeks.

Mr. Mugabe recently appointed Chiweshe Judge President of the High Court without consultations with Prime Minister Tsvangirai, which Harare constitutional lawyer Derek Matyszak says was "illegal."

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid